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Two Eagles earn preseason honors
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STARKVILLE, Miss. — Griffin Benedict and Ty Wright, both seniors on the Georgia Southern University baseball team, were named Third Team Preseason All-America by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

They were two of six representatives from four Southern Conference teams.

Benedict earned second team All-SoCon honors last year and is regarded as one of the best all-around catchers in the country. The senior was also one of 19 in GSU history to record 60 runs scored/60 RBI in a season (60/65) and ranked 61st nationally in RBI per game (1.14). He hit .355 with 17 doubles, 12 home runs and walked more times (27) than he struck out (20) in 217 at-bats, all while posting a .978 fielding percentage.

He led the Eagles and finished fifth in the SoCon picking off six runners. In fact, Benedict had more pickoffs by himself than three SoCon teams had total.

Benedict, a graduate of St. Pius, accounted for two of the Eagles’ NCAA record 14 home runs hit during game two of the Columbia series last year, a 26-8 victory.

Wright, from West Laurens, is coming off an All-American season in 2008, his first with the Eagles. The senior outfielder, who earlier this month was named to the “Wallace Watch” for the Brooks Wallace Award as National Player of the Year, earned Second Team All-America honors by the American Baseball Coaches Association last season.

He also was selected first team All-Atlantic Region and first team All-Southern Conference.

Wright was featured in Sports Illustrated ‘Faces in the Crowd’ after hitting for the cycle in four consecutive innings (the first four innings of game three) at Wofford. Overall he tallied 63 runs scored (19th nationally), 52 RBI batting mainly as leadoff hitter, and led the team with 22 doubles (16th). He recorded 17 home runs (22nd in HR per game), including a program record six that led off a game. Wright posted a .781 slugging percentage (8th) and .494 on-base percentage (46th).

He tallied 32 walks to 25 strikeouts in 196 at-bats and just missed the .400 club, finishing the year batting at a .398 clip (48th nationally). He hit one of the NCAA record 14 home runs against Columbia (March 15). Wright was named SoCon ‘Player of the Month’ in April (.410 batting average, 34-for-83), and earned NCBWA ‘National Player of the Week’ and SoCon ‘Player of the Week’ honors for the week of April 29.

Georgia Southern opens the 2009 season on Feb. 20 against Presbyterian. The three-game series will take place at J.I. Clements Stadium.